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Press Release

PROTECTING CLEAN AIR: Attorney General Shapiro Demands Trump Administration’s EPA Withdraw Plan to Roll Back Rules on Clean Cars

October 26, 2018 | Topic: Rights

AG Shapiro + 20 AGs Take Action, Make the Case to Keep Clean Car Standards in Place

Current Rules Save Consumers Money, Reduce Emissions, Protect Air Quality

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro, with a coalition of 20 other Attorneys General and four major cities, today filed formal comments demanding the Trump Administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) withdraw their proposal to roll back the country’s existing Clean Car Standards.

The current Clean Car Standards require significant and achievable reductions in fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks. The current rule is expected to prevent up to 2,000 premature deaths, 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments, and reduce asthma symptoms for 24 million Americans, including 6.3 million children. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 1.7 million adults and 235,000 children have asthma symptoms.

“The Trump Administration is reversing course on standards that are working economically and environmentally and I strongly oppose this rollback,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference yesterday in Pittsburgh, surrounded by Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Erika Strassburger. “Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water, and I’ll stand up to defend those rights and protect Pennsylvania’s environment from anyone who threatens them.”

County Executive Fitzgerald submitted written comments himself opposing the rollback on Clean Car Standards, stating in his formal comments: “This proposal, which would roll back the emission and fuel economy standards established for light duty vehicles, would be detrimental to our communities and our county. I strongly oppose the proposed rule and urge the EPA and NHTSA to reject this proposed rule.”

The proposed rollbacks would also revoke existing authority which California has under the Clean Air Act to place stronger state limits on automobile-related pollution. This aspect of the rollback would impact a dozen other states that adopted California’s stricter emissions standards – including Pennsylvania.

“These Clean Car standards help protect Pennsylvanians, especially our most vulnerable citizens – our seniors, children and individuals with health challenges,” Attorney General Shapiro said. According to the EPA’s own data, more than seven million Pennsylvanians are breathing harmful air.

With gas prices at a four-year high, Attorney General Shapiro noted yesterday that Clean Car standards also protect family budgets from dramatic price increases at the pump – they help make sure consumers pay less, because cars are more fuel-efficient. The current standards have saved Americans more than $50 billion since they were adopted, and save consumers as much as $5,700 over the life of their car. Fuel efficiency standards are also expected to spur job growth in the automobile industry. New technologies could create more than 26,000 jobs in Pennsylvania by 2030.

In their formal comments, the Attorneys General and mayors from Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, called on the EPA and NHTSA to immediately withdraw the proposal. The coalition identifies key reasons why the proposal is unlawful:

  • The proposed standards would require little or no progress on greenhouse gas emission standards or fuel economy for a period of six years, replacing standards requiring significant reductions in emissions and fuel consumption
  • The proposed rollback ignores overwhelming scientific consensus that immediate and continual progress toward a near-zero emission economy by mid-century is critical to avoid irreversible and catastrophic climate change
  • The agencies’ rollback process violates numerous important procedural requirements, and is based on an illegitimate mid-term evaluation based on unsound evidence and data
  • The rollback violates the Clean Air Act by increasing GHG emissions the EPA is tasked to reduce

Last year, Attorney General Shapiro sued the EPA over its rollback of smog protections. The EPA backed down the next day and withdrew its action.

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